BEYOND MY CONTROL


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI

“Beyond My Control” is a 1991 song recorded by French singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer. It was the fourth single from her third studio album L’Autre… and was released in May 1992. The lyrics for Beyond my control were written by Mylène Farmer. The music for Beyond my control was composed by Laurent Boutonnat.

The song probably remains well known for its music video that caused controversy and was censored because of its sexual and violent content. In fact, you most likely won’t be able to find a full uncensored version anywhere in the net. The only island of digital freedom is found on Daily Motion website.



The ambiguous song “Pas de doute“, already scheduled as the third single from the album L’Autre… would have been released as the fourth single but was finally replaced by “Beyond My Control”, which was remixed to be more commercial.

The song was inspired by the 1782 French epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos; In the song, the voice heard on the chorus of the song which repeats “It’s beyond my control” is in fact a sample of John Malkovich’s voice from the film “Dangerous Liaisons” by Stephen Frears. Both the original novel and the movie version of it are true masterpieces. The novel was turned into the film more than once. In 1959 was set in present-day France. It was directed by Roger Vadim, and stars Jeanne Moreau, Gerard Phillipe, and Annette Vadim. It was a French/Italian co-production.

An American version that Mylene refers to is called “Dangerous Liaisons”. It theatrically released by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 16, 1988. It stars an incredible bouquet of actors: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves. The film is a very successful adaptation of the novel. No wonder Mylene was impressed.

The video was directed by Laurent Boutonnat who also wrote the screenplay. It was his last video for Mylene he did and resumed only with “Les Mots”, nine years later. The video was shot for two days at Studio Sets in Stains (where the video of “Plus grandir was already shot in 1985) and cost about only 45,000 euros (the budget was limited because the film Giorgino was in preparation). This Requiem Publishing and Heathcliff SA production features Farmer, gorgeous Frédéric Lagache who known for Emmanuelle II (1975) and who was the puppeteer in the video of “Sans contrefaçon” and who plays her lover, and Christophe Danchaud, a makeup artist and a dancer/choreographer of Mylene’s tours, who is the double for the nude scenes.

Photographer Marianne Rosensthiel who witnessed the shooting of the video, said that the white dress worn by Farmer was custom made by a seamstress.

The video, with many explicit scenes of sex and violence, was censored from it’s very release, making a great to-do in the mass media which published many controversial images. Polydor proposed to French television host Michel Drucker to broadcast in first the video on his show Champs-Élysées on France 2, but he categorically refused, M6 decided to bill it in full version only after midnight although the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel did not prohibit it, Canal + agreed to broadcast it in the show Top 50, where the programmer confessed she did not find the video so shocking; and for the channel MCM, it asked advice of its television viewers who had voted for or against. Many journalists from various newspapers expressed concerns about the video and French magazine Star Music even qualified it as a “crap”. Haha! Got to love that!

This video was often seen by the general public as a pretext for showing salacious images. However, biographer Bernard Violet believes that the video marked the end of an era in Farmer’s career, the era of very sophisticated scenarios, and instead put more highlight at the song. Thus, the video has a narrative framework reduced to its bigger simplicity with short and stripped plans. According to journalist Caroline Beet, the bloody kissing between Farmer and her lover clearly refers to a cannibalistic belief that led primitive people to eat their enemies to feed on their strength. About this video, Farmer explained that she liked the blood and nudity and that her relationships with men were at the time very difficult. So in that light, The love – hate relationship she portraits makes perfect sense.

“When I feel very attracted to a man, at the same time I make a total rejection. I admit that relationships with men scare me … I sometimes have a feeling of complete incommunicability with them. I can’t speak of love in terms of happiness, serenity. I’m looking for an ideal that doesn’t exist.” (Mylène Farmer – Podium – June 1992)

Mylène mentioned this song quite briefly on two occasions in interviews:

“It’s a love story that ends in blood. Because it’s easier to keep people like that! ” (Mylène Farmer – Podium – September 1991) “It’s true that when I wrote this song… well, I have the impression that this song has a more cinematic writing than the others. These are fairly precise and fast images, like that, which immediately suggest a state. It is true that I fully imagine the scenario.” (Mylène Farmer – NRJ – April 05, 1991)

Whatever conclusion you’d like to draw for yourself, the video is sensational! I saw it for the first time in the end of 1992 on Russian mid-night TV program called Eauropa Plus. I recorded it on my cheap VHS recorder/player and was stunned by the beauty of the song and the clip. It is up to date probably one of my favorite clips being in the great company of Libertine and Pourvu qu’elles soient douces.

I will talk more about the song and video analysis but to me the visualization serves the expression of pain and agony caused by the betrayal of the loved one. If you have experienced it (and I am very sorry if you have) you can totally understand the feeling being burned at the stake by the excruciating pain. It feels raw, violent and creates mixed impulses: destroy the one who hurts you so much (hint the blood and wolves) as well as being burned to ashes by the internal suffering no matter how much you retaliate. I get it. I totally get it. It is a passion turned into its most painful form. When the passion runs high it all becomes “beyond our control”. That’s why falling in love is to give up the control. And it is why it is so terrifying. But only then one can truly find the enlightenment through love.

Mylene and Laurent processed the film beautifully creating another masterpiece. The great work of art is timeless. The clip came out 30 years ago and looks absolutely modern and relevant as human passions generally don’t go out of style.

“Laurent arrived one day with this sample (“beyond my control” phrase by John Malkovich). He found it very ‘catchy’ and the song was built on it. He already had the harmonic bases and the structure of the song, but it was still a studio frenzy. The song that got grafted onto the sample. Then the rest came, after Mylène recorded her vocals. I sampled bits of backing vocals to make the “too-too-too” at the beginning. Song was recorded in a good fun as well. Regarding the legal aspect, Polydor did what was necessary to obtain the rights of use of the sample.” (Thierry Rogen -” Styx Magazine “special L’autre…” – 2011)

For the first time throughout Farmer’s career, a CD single was released among the various formats. At the time of the song’s release, the radio NRJ prepared a 7″ maxi with a collector picture disc in a limited edition (50 units) and containing a new remix.

“Beyond My Control” was never performed on television.


Mylenium Tour


It was only sung during the 2000 Mylenium Tour and thus a recording of the performance is available on the VHS or DVD Mylenium Tour live album; on this occasion, however, Malkovich’s voice was replaced. Farmer wore then orange costume composed of a privateer trousers, a thick jacket and orange shoes, with high heels, and her dancers had different colored costumes. At the beginning of the song, Farmer asked the audience to clap their hands.

Arrangements for the stage: Yvan Cassar. Beyond my control is removed from the setlist for the three concerts in Russia, replaced by Que mon coeur lâche.

A choreography was initially planned on Beyond my control for the show Mylenium Tour (created by Christophe Danchaud) but the idea was abandoned and it was never even repeated with the dancers.



In France, the single started at number ten on 9 May 1992 on the singles chart, reached twice a peak at number eight on 16 May and 6 June, but dropped rather quickly and fell off the top 50 after eleven weeks. The single started at number 21 on the Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart and reached number ten four weeks later; it remained for twelve weeks in the top 30. Thus the single chart trajectories and sales were rather disappointing in comparison with the other three singles off L’Autre….

In the first quarter of 1992, the album L’autre … was already a diamond record in France (more than a million copies sold) after three singles extracted. For the fourth extract, the eyes are mostly turned towards the next logical choice: Pas de Doubt. Too logical probably, since Mylène chooses a darker and more complex title: Beyond my control.

Beyond my control was released on April 13, 1992. We find in the bins in France a 45 Tours, a Maxi 33 Tours, a Maxi CD, a single cassette and a 2 track CD.

On July 13, 1992 released a maxi CD and a Maxi 33 Tours for Europe and in particular Germany. A promotional medium (maxi cd) is also available in Canada.

Analysis of Beyond my control (extrait de “Styx Magazine” spécial L’autre… published in April 2011):

With a little convoluted and rather simple text (for Farmer), Beyond my control goes straight to the point by using a recipe that Mylène particularly appreciates: a tragic end.

Inspired by the dramatic debauchery of Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos (while capturing a line by John Malkovitch – playing the role of Viscount Valmont – sampled on the film by Stephen Frears), this song features adultery, the fickle pleasure of man, his baseness, in the face of jealousy and the desire for reprisals of the soiled person. Tired of the deception of which she is the victim, Mylène launches into a sadistic revenge until the death of her lover: it is moreover here the awareness of the violence of the author after the executed murder that is related, and not the act itself.

Still shocked and therefore not very lucid about her actions, like a child whose innocence hides reality from her, Mylène stammers, sees trouble, wants to be protective, benevolent, with the man she loves and by whom injured. The murder weapon, his own hands, covered in blood, will bring him progressively towards reason by reminding him of the fatal moment. The ambiguity of his arms which encircle the human body is erased: from love is born death. One could understand the refrain as symbolizing the very essence of the murder, of the savagery of the young woman responding by herself to what her lover would claim in his defense. The vocal leitmotif of “It’s beyond my control” would then be seen as an obsession responsible for madness, lack of control, of composure.

In contemplation of what led her to dementia, Mylène finally conceives of the irreversibility of her gesture and melts into the remorse, the despair of the irrevocable loneliness that awaits her. A tragedy which is reminiscent of the clip of Sans Logique, in which lovers naively engage in violence, in combat between them, without grasping the inevitability of death. Perhaps because love is blind and leads, on both sides, to excess.

To conclude the text of the song, the last thought of Mylène, cried in an intense fear, will be that of her own death, caused deliberately or quite simply by sorrow (“I will join you perhaps”). One way, perhaps, to regret this desire for noxious possession.

In the paroxysmal image of a domineering woman, Beyond my control, no more optimistic than the previous singles, rather sadly evokes the unreliability of the other, of the man, mechanically guided by his carnal nature. The only possibility of keeping the loved one (despite everything) is to kill him, to keep only his soul, to accompany him by taking his life, his body, weak and vain. An allusion to the madness is already present in the album through Psychiatric, as well as to the complex man / woman relationships, similarly already present in the farmerian work (especially in the clips, where the male figure mostly ends up destroyed)

As usual, Mylène does not forget to slip in some discreet references to spirituality (“Angel”, “Sleep in peace”). Note also an allusion to the crow from the cover of L’Autre… which points according to a verse (“I will watch over your grave”), in a protective and accompanying role (“I will take care of your wounds”) and which would bring in the title of the album as well as in its photo a meaning at least obscure.

Accompanied by music and arrangements of incredible richness, Beyond my control, carnal and aggressive, is Mylène’s first piece to be conducted by an acoustic guitar, which gives it a certain Hispanic accent (especially in its single version, slightly remixed for the occasion). The culmination of Laurent Boutonnat’s creativity, who will also have the good taste not to caricature himself by trying to renew the operation, Beyond my control is reflected in the album, alongside Psychiatric, such a curiosity, artistically very substantial.

At the same time fragile, innocent, strong and threatening, the voice of Mylène, aerial and almost drowned in the reverb, adapts to the wire of the words and the awareness mentioned above. The leitmotif of the sampled parts gives the song a particular atmosphere, dark and chronic, ultimately sublimated by a few notes of flutes, reminiscent of the new age.

This clip for the first time introduces the wolf allegory which Mylene will come back to again and again: DES LARMES, ROLLING STONE

There are many remixes created. Some better than others. See for yourself: https://www.mylene.net/mylene/d_s_beyond-my-control_versions.php

I have always like Polyedre work. And this one stands out:


While working on this chapter, I re-watched the 1996 live concert video and could not help but notice Jeff Dahlgren being visible in many shots.


I figured it calls for the occasion to talk a bit more about Jeff. His presence in Mylene’s life is very valuable.

Mylène Farmer met Dahlgren in the early 1990s in Los Angeles, California. At the time of their meeting she was working on the single Que mon cœur lâche. Immediately they began working together. Around the same time Dahlgren met Laurent Boutonnat. and Giorgino’s idea was born. In fact, I wonder how much of the Giorgino inspiration for the famous theme “The wolves are coming” is drown from the Beyond My Control wolf allegory.

Later Dahlgren and Farmer worked on recorded albums Anamorphosée and Innamoramento together. Jeff also became Mylene’s 1996 tour lead guitarist as well as Mylenium Tour.


remixes


Beyond My Control – Godforsaken Mix
Beyond My Control – Under Control Remix
Beyond My Control – The Raven Mix

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lyrics with translation


It's beyond my control
Je ne comprends plus pourquoi
J'ai du sang sur mes doigts
Il faut que je te rassure
Je soignerai bien tes blessures mon amour
Tu n'as plus vraiment le choix
Nos deux corps étendus, là
Qu'à l'aube ils se mélangent
Là tu as les yeux d'un ange mon amour
Lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
C'est plus fort que toi
Toujours en cavale
(It's beyond my control)
Tu dis, j'ai besoin de tes bras
Oh lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
Mais c'est plus fort que toi
Tu nous fais du mal
(It's beyond my control)
Ne t'éloignes pas de mes bras
Je ne comprends plus pourquoi
J'ai du sang sur mes doigts
Dors en paix je t'assure
Je veillerai ta sépulture mon amour
C'était plus fort que moi
Même si je sens là l'effroi
Envahir tout mon être
Je te rejoindrai peut-être mon amour
Lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
C'est plus fort que toi
Toujours en cavale
(It's beyond my control)
Tu dis, j'ai besoin de tes bras
Oh lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
Mais c'est plus fort que toi
Tu nous fais du mal
(It's beyond my control)
Ne t'éloignes pas de mes bras
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
Oh lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
Mais c'est plus fort que toi
Tu nous fais du mal
(It's beyond my control)
Ne t'éloignes pas de mes bras
Lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
C'est plus fort que toi
Toujours en cavale
(It's beyond my control)
Tu dis, j'ai besoin de tes bras
Oh lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
Mais c'est plus fort que toi
Tu nous fais du mal
(It's beyond my control)
Ne t'éloignes pas de mes bras
Lâche!
(It's beyond my control)
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
I no longer understand why
I have blood on my fingers
I must reassure you
I will take good care of your wounds my love
You don't really have a choice anymore
Our two bodies stretched out, there
That at dawn they mingle
There you have the eyes of an angel my love
Coward!
(It's beyond my control)
It's stronger than you
Always on the loose
(It's beyond my control)
You say, I need your arms
Oh coward!
(It's beyond my control)
But it's stronger than you
You hurt us
(It's beyond my control)
Don't get away from my arms
I no longer understand why
I have blood on my fingers
Sleep in peace I assure you
I will watch over your burial my love
It was stronger than me
Even if I can feel the fear
Invade my whole being
I may join you my love
Coward!
(It's beyond my control)
It's stronger than you
Always on the loose
(It's beyond my control)
You say, I need your arms
Oh coward!
(It's beyond my control)
But it's stronger than you
You hurt us
(It's beyond my control)
Don't get away from my arms
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
Oh coward!
(It's beyond my control)
But it's stronger than you
You hurt us
(It's beyond my control)
Don't get away from my arms
Coward!
(It's beyond my control)
It's stronger than you
Always on the loose
(It's beyond my control)
You say, I need your arms
Oh coward!
(It's beyond my control)
But it's stronger than you
You hurt us
(It's beyond my control)
Don't get away from my arms
Coward!
(It's beyond my control)
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control
It's beyond my control


The page last edited July 8, 2022

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